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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Author Interview: Lillith Payne

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Lillith Payne whose newest book, The Prince Alliance, is being released this week by loveyoudivine.

Lillith knew she has stories inside, but getting them to paper was the problem. She started with weekend seminars and moved to week-long programs at the Summer Writing Program at the University of Iowa.

"At first I took basic storytelling classes and moved onto scriptwriting," she said. "In the end, I realized I’m a romantic at heart, with an inbred twist for sensual and sexual."

Lillith began by writing formula romance, but found that erotica came naturally to some stories and trying to take out the erotic elements often turned the story flat. But, not always, as she also has stories outlined for the mainstream romance reader. "I enjoy the elements of romance," Lillith said, "but find I have to pull back on the sexual interactions sometimes to stay within the closed door, door half-open, etc."

"How do you distinguish between erotica, erotic romance and pornography?" I asked.

"For me, erotic romance is sensual," Lillith responded. "It suggests the possibilities for exploration. Erotica is more of a blatant statement. It’s the invitation to join the journey of exploration to fulfillment. Pornography is subjective; each person’s feelings dictate what level makes them uncomfortable. For me, porn is sex just for the sake of sex. It’s not a particular act, more the attitude during it."

A story that makes Lillith squirm in her seat while reading it, however, is definitely a keeper. Her favorite erotic author is Anne Rice and her Sleeping Beauty series.

"I always associated her with vampire and horror stories, but when I was given a copy of her Sleeping Beauty series, a new light dawned. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty was written under A. N. Roquelaure and published by Plume in 1990. Beauty’s Punishment and Beauty’s Release followed in the series. They were originally copyrighted in l984-their first release was Plume, l990. These novels were far from anything else I’d read as ‘erotica’. They were very visual reads with a provocative edge."

Once Lillith has her main characters drafted along with their conflic, her research starts with the details of the time period.

"The way of life in that time frame is important as well as fashion and etiquette," she said. "I used to spend hours in the library researching. With the internet, my research is much easier. Tidbits of information often lead to major developments of their situations."

Lillith told me that, ten years ago, when she was able to start writing full time that she and her husband made a deal. He didn't have to read anything she wrote unless it was published.

"It worked great for him for a few years," she said. "Thankfully, now that I’m published, he automatically asks for the finished MS on release day. He prefers the erotica but reads the romance too. I basically told ‘everyone and anyone’ who would listen about my romance novels. I chose carefully who I let in on my erotica until I had several published and felt more comfortable with the finished novels and their content. Now I tell anyone who will listen about all my novels. My seventy five year old mother reads all my novels, too. While she usually discusses the romance in more detail, she does comment on the locations or time frames of the erotica!"

On a personal note, I asked Lillith about body piercing.

"I had my ears pierced at sixteen and never looked back. I love earrings as a fashion accessory and find they tell me a lot about a person by what they choose to exhibit. I think a pierced belly button can be sexy, if you have the belly for it. As to permanently piercing my nipples or privates, I prefer the clip-ons because I don’t tolerate pain at all!"

"If you could be anyone, who would you choose to be?" I asked.

"This may sound corny but I’d be me, maybe with a bigger bank account, but still me," she replied. "At this time in my life, I’m happy with myself, my husband and home and my career is active. I still have down time to relax and enjoy my surroundings. I always wanted to be a published author, and now I am. Life is good, I want to enjoy it while I can."

Her favorite food is carbs—in all shapes and forms. "I'm a pasta person," she explained, "and love creating different sauces. Also, crusty French or Italian bread slathered with salted butter will always make me feel better, no matter what my mood!"

On the other hand, she absolutely cannot eat sushi in any shape or form. "I get the creeps just thinking about raw fish," she said. "While I often go fishing for sport, I always cook my catch, usually with just a bit of butter, salt and pepper."

She can also tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi and is a Pepsi drinker all the way, feeling that a frosty cold Pepsi on a hot summer day is the best reward. She also would rather have the occasional real soda than drink diet soda every day.

When Lillith isn't writing, she likes to bake, usually cookies and bread. She also lives in a rural area and finds that walking the woods clears her head. If she gets stuck on something she's working on, most of the time a long walk gives her a new direction. Also, she added with a laugh, "if not inspiration at that moment, I figure it keeps my butt from dropping too far."

She also keeps her fingernails short since she started writing every day and once she stopped getting manicures, it didn't take long for pedicures to drift away as well.

Finally, I asked Lillith what advice she would give new writers and authors who want to write erotica.

"For new writers, I have two!" she said. "First, no matter what, keep writing. Whether it’s in journal form or just jotting notes for story ideas, keep writing. I often go back to notes and journals and find details that work for a new story or that push me toward a better version of that one.

"Second, write a thank you note for each of your rejects. I know it sounds strange, but often you’ll be submitting new work to the same editors and they do remember when you’re polite. Also, they usually respond with a bit of information to make the manuscript they rejected better. Their reasons always make me take a fresh look at the story and usually edit to correct what they noted, making the story stronger.

"If an author wants to write erotica, they should first decide what erotica means to them. Each person has their own level of romance, erotica or pornography. Once they find their comfort level, just go for it. I’ve written many stories and novels no one will ever read, but the exercise of writing is valuable on many levels. Each story got stronger and more detailed." You can keep up with Lillith on her website,

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